Buzzfeed reported today that “A growing chorus of clients and current and former workers at the social media management company Unruly” including multiple clients represented by Courtney Abrams, PC “say the agency has engaged in deceptive recruitment practices that locked them into agreements threatening six-figure penalties for contract breaches and handing over expansive control of their personal lives, while demanding work they hadn’t realized they’d signed up for and, in some cases, publishing nude images of them without their consent.”
Reporting specifically about the lawsuit being prosecuted by Courtney Abrams, PC, the article states:
“Workers are accusing the company of exploitative practices too. Six current and former workers who were paid to run accounts on behalf of creators are suing or have hired legal representation in preparation to sue the company for wage theft.
Lizzie Machabeli and another former account manager suing the company jointly allege in their complaint that the company misclassified them as independent contractors and illegally underpaid them while pressuring them to work around the clock on accounts that they said were bringing in tens of thousands of dollars each month. The two former workers, who said they were fired after they retained lawyers, told BuzzFeed News that they struggled to pay bills and at times had to choose between paying the rent and buying food.
“We were working over 100 hours a week,” said Machabeli. “From when we started, in 2020, I only had 3 full days off.”
Machabeli said that at one point she was answering around 300 messages every few hours, and that account managers were prohibited from telling the clients they had a day off or were even at lunch.”
Referring to the lawsuit filed by Courtney Abrams, PC, BuzzFeed likewise describes:
“In the lawsuit, which was filed in November, Machabeli and the former account manager allege that company officials recruited them with promises of five-figure checks and lavish trips, but once they started, they found that their pay structures and job duties would change without notice, often in ways that shrunk their income. Machabeli said in the lawsuit that she was missing $500 from a paycheck at one point, and one current and one other former worker said in interviews that they also encountered errors in their paychecks. “It was so manipulative,” Machabeli said.
Ten days after Machabeli raised concerns about her status as a contractor with the company in an email to executives in April, she and other workers received a document described in the subject line as Unruly’s “commission structure,” but which included an independent contractor agreement that would lock them into arbitration for any dispute, make them liable for third-party lawsuits, and disavow their claims to be Unruly’s “employees.””
Speaking about the lawsuit to BuzzFeed, Courtney Abrams stated:
The workers were never given the opportunity to understand that they were signing away very important rights under California law.”
BuzzFeed also details the disturbing fallout from Unruly Agency’s alleged unlawful employment practices:
“They’re bullies,” said one current employee. “They really freaking break you.”
“I couldn’t sleep, I would have breakdowns,” said the former account manager in the lawsuit with Machabeli. “I remember I would just stand in the shower and start crying. … And I just felt trapped, like I couldn’t get out of it because … we were terrified of not having the income, even though this income was so slim.”
Anyone with information relevant to this BuzzFeed story or a tip about unlawful workplace conditions should contact Courtney Abrams of Courtney Abrams, PC (email@example.com) or Andrew H. Friedman of Helmer Friedman LLP (firstname.lastname@example.org) (or the reporter of the BuzzFeed story, Otillia Steadman (email@example.com)